Needless to say as a former U.S. Marine, I found the activities of the Westboro Church to be quite offensive and I am tore between my fellow military members having their time of peace and their families having their time to mourn and the sacrifice I and others have made to protect the freedoms we so enjoy today. I am tore because I believe in the freedoms that I and others did and am fighting for but taking away a freedom form any citizen is wrong. “After Matthew Snyder, a U.S. Marine, was killed in Anbar province in Iraq in 2006, some uninvited guests showed up at his funeral at St. John’s Catholic Church in Westminster, Md.” “The Rev. Fred W. Phelps Sr. of the Westboro Baptist Church and several family members came from Kansas holding signs reading “Thank God for Dead Soldiers,” “God Hates Fags” and “You’re Going to Hell.” “He prevailed on his claims of invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress and won a large damage award, but that ruling was reversed on appeal.” “Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case.” “Even for the most committed civil libertarian, it is hard to get excited about defending a hate-spewing minimob that targets the funeral of a dead soldier or signs saying “God Hates the USA. Thank God for 9/11.” “Still, it is important for the court to rule that this kind of expression lies within the First Amendment.” “We defend it not because these ideas are particularly worthy of being protected, but because all ideas, even the most loathsome, are.” (Cohen, Adam, 9/29/2010, Time, Phelps v. Snyder: Supreme Court Case Tackles Hate Speech, Retrieved from firstname.lastname@example.org). There is, I believe, a happy medium and here is where I think that court could come down and not bar the freedom of the 1st amendment while preserving the rights of families to mourn and soldiers, sailors, Marines and any other service member to be laid to rest in peace.
I think that line should be the appearance of those who wish to disrupt the service. The fact that they had to travel means premeditation which they should have expected should have caused a reaction from the family of the fallen. I personally do not condone homosexuality but it is the choice of the individual and not the choice of the many. It is, however, that particular individual who will have to answer on judgment day for their decision and not mine or any group. I believe that the 1st amendment means that I can say what I think about another’s choice but it does not give me the right to intrude or try and force my views down the throat of another. My right to free speech means that I can voice my opinion whenever I wish but it also means that it is not limitless. Traveling to the funerals of the fallen is far outside the bounds of free speech. The signs say Thank God for dead soldiers, God hates fags and You’re going to hell, the manner of how they obtained these facts are what should be investigated and legislated. To exercise your 1st amendment rights is fine but along with that comes common sense and humility taught to from the Bible. The Bible speaks of compassion and Jesus teaches us civility, intruding on a time reserved for a family mourning the loss of a son is not in-keeping with the lessons of Jesus or the Bible. The worst part of this entire story is that these people came uninvited now how is that free speech?